Saturday 17 March 2018

St John of God chief earns €125k despite €110k cap

Clare Dempsey: salary is ‘fully declared to the HSE’
Clare Dempsey: salary is ‘fully declared to the HSE’
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The St John of God Order was facing fresh questions last night after it emerged the salary of its chief executive of community services is higher than the public service pay limit called for by the HSE.

Clare Dempsey told the Irish Independent she is paid €125,000, despite a circular sent by the HSE's Director of Human Resources saying the maximum rate for Section 38 agencies, including the St John of God organisation, should be no more than €110,000.

The circular was sent out by HSE director of HR Rosarii Mannion in September last year. Ms Dempsey said yesterday the €125,000 salary - which comes out of public funds - is fully pensionable.

She said the salary had been fully declared to the HSE in the charity's annual compliance statement.

Ms Dempsey said it was agreed with the HSE but added it was now "under consideration".

She was speaking as the order, which receives an annual €131m from the HSE to deliver services in the disability and mental health area, was told it is facing a review.

The news of the review came in correspondence from the HSE which is looking at how it has remunerated its staff in recent years.

It followed revelations that 14 St John of God executives shared in a payout of €1.64m in late 2013.

Provincial Brother Donatus Forkan reiterated yesterday that it was obliged contractually to discharge this pension liability.

The money did not come from any public funds, he said. The order has its own income from rental properties, investments and donations.

However, the failure to declare this payout in 2013 to the HSE at a time of huge public controversy about salary and pension top-ups is now being investigated.

At the time, the HSE contacted the order and other agencies for salary and pension figures. It wanted them to declare all information as part of its bid to clamp down on salary and pension top-ups in these agencies.

All employees of Section 38 agencies, which provide outsourced services for the HSE, are classified as public servants.

Therefore their pay should be in compliance with standard salary scales.

They have access to the public service pension scheme.

Ms Dempsey was one of the 14 who received part of the €1.64m payout.

Brother Forkan said yesterday: "It was a private contract with the brothers. It was a once-off payment that discharged potential liability."

Several of the agencies made a business case to retain the salary top-ups for individual executives which they were legally bound to honour.

This led the HSE to allow for exceptions to be made in the case of 67 executives across various agencies.

However, the agreement was that these top-ups would only apply to the current post holder. Once they had resigned or retired, their successor should only be on a salary in line with standard public service pay scales.

Irish Independent

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